Innocent Bystanders

November 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Innocent Bystanders

Innocent Bystanders

Monday November 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm PST by Joshua Anderson, Lexington Realty Correspondent

Los Angeles—We have all heard the stories, a once vibrant neighborhood goes to the dumps because every other house on the block is either bank owned or currently in foreclosure. Everyone looks around and points fingers and asks who’s to blame?  Well from the top we of course by default blame Wall Street, the banks and the government. But by taking a more in depth look at the whole scenario, we realize there were a chain of events that eventually lead us to where we are today, and the unfortunate outcome, are those who suffered because of someone else’s mistakes.

Take 60 year old Sherrilynn Palladino, a ten year homeowner in the California community of Grover beach.  A responsible borrower who never missed a payment, Palladino could only stand by and watch as the price of her home plummeted until it was too underwater to do anything about it. This scenario had been played out over a million times in thousands of communities across the nation. It’s almost like a domino effect, one block falls, and sets off a chain reaction. Palladino had dreams of selling her home and cashing out. A home with good equity would have made for a secure retirement, but instead, the values declined. Between all of the underwater mortgages and rising rates, foreclosures were inevitable. In the case of Palladino though, she never missed a payment, even after being laid off from her job as an administrative assistant. Unlike her situation, most families could not afford to salvage the basic necessities just to keep up with the mortgage payment. This is where the real trouble began. Almost everyone who had an adjustable rate mortgage was bound to default at some point or another, and just as it was predicted, they did. On top of the defaulted loan, many homeowners lost there jobs, thus creating an even deeper financial burden.

Now that we are somewhat nearing the tail end of this foreclosure mess, we need to have a better understanding of what got us here in the first place. Prices will still drop for the next couple of years and lenders are stepping up there foreclosure efforts. So before the smoke dissipates there will be even more collateral damage. Sherrilynn Palladino was just one case, but there are thousands more just like her. One of the best things you can do in a situation like this short sale. The process allows you to alleviate the negative debt and does minimal damage to your credit, pending your not severely in default. Upon completing the short sale you may be entitled to up to $3,500 from the Obama driven HAFA program. The benefits are endless; however the most significant is avoiding foreclosure. After just 18 months the homeowner can be eligible to take out a new home loan and take advantage while prices and interest rates are still historically low.

Being a victim of this housing crisis doesn’t mean you need to be a casualty, in many cases it takes risk and a small amount damage to rectify the situation, but in the end it may be worth it.

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